Majestic Maine Coons And How To Support Them Naturally Pet Care Tips 5 min read
One of the larger breeds of cats, Maine Coon’s are widely thought to be the oldest cat breed native to America. With their unmistakable lions mane, bushy tail and fluffy ear tips they are easily recognized.
Legend says that Maine coons were the result of cats and raccoons breeding, however we know this to be biologically impossible and mainly down to their interesting double barrelled name.
Their history however is still interesting, and many historians believe that they were the result of breeding between North American short hairs and fancy long haired cats bought over from Europe when the first settlers arrived. Some speculate their arrival could have been as early as the first Vikings over a thousand years ago, given their close resemblance to the Norwegian Forest cat.
Maine Coon’s are a good natured and friendly breed, who like to be around people. Not seen as a ‘needy breed’ they like to hang out with you, but are not typically a lap cat. As a breed they are often recommended for families and dog households, thanks to their laid-back personalities.
Historically carried on ships to help with rat control Maine Coons are well known hunters. If they are an outdoor cat they will frequently be seen stalking birds and small animals. House cats still portray this hunting instinct, playing with toys, and frequently using their large paws to bat objects around to chase and play with.
It is widely reported in the pet world that Maine coons have a curiosity with water and will spend a lot of time playing in water bowls, sinks and baths. Some owners even report that their cats like to take a bath with them! This is thought to be due to their semi water resistant fur, where the long outer coat protects the fluffy inner coat. Much like a Husky. Because of these, Maine Coons seem to lack the instinct that most cats have to stay away from water.
They are often seen batting water around, whilst some people say it’s their playful nature, others conclude that their high intelligence leads them to test water for freshness. A trait possibly gained from their mysterious forest cat lineage.
Maine Coons have long coats which require regular brushing, however unlike their long haired counterparts it rarely matts. This means that grooming twice a week is all that is typically needed. Maine Coon’s like to groom themselves, and by removing dead hairs with regular brushing you are reducing the risk of hairballs. Grooming is also a great treat for your cat, and a good grooming session can help to bond fur kiddos with their owners. Especially if your cat is young or recently adopted.
Food and diet
As a breed, Maine Coons have a tendency to become overweight if their diet is not monitored. There are many different options for pet foods available, and Dr. Amanda explains the differences in these on our ‘How to pick the best diet for your new pet blog post. Dr Amanda also creates nutrition plans for pets who suffer from different conditions, helping pet parents create a healthy and balanced diet that they can prepare at home.
For Maine Coon cats we do recommend including some form wet food in their diet regimen. It could be a vet recommended high quality store-bought food or a balanced home prepared one or even some suitable snacks like plain yogurt or pumpkin pureé. The wet food content will support digestion and maintain metabolism. It will also help keep their skin and coat healthier.
Common health conditions
Cats are susceptible to many different health conditions, however there are some which are more common in the Maine Coon cat:
Hairballs are clumps of hair that cats vomit up after swallowing during grooming. Hairballs may seem harmless, but hair that stays in the stomach too long can harden into a dense mass that can cause digestive irritation and even block the digestive tract. Cats have rough tongues, which when grooming collect loose fur that they have on their body. Most hair then travels through the body easily, but some can stay in the stomach and cause digestive issues.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common heart disease in cats, with many cats carrying the gene that causes it. Causing a thickening of the heart muscle, breeders should screen parents for this disease before allowing them to have kittens. HCM typically strikes in middle to old age cats and often found in the Maine Coon breed.
Hip Displaysia is where the hip joints fail to develop normally, and gradually deteriorate over time. Normally seen in dog breeds, Maine Coons are thought to be carriers due to their size, with most cases appearing in large males. In lots of cases this can lead to arthritis in older age, and in rare cases, paralysis. It is common and affects around 20% of Maine Coons. Early signs can be an unwillingness to jump, stiff movements, and discomfort when the hips are touched.
Even if your Maine Coon is a pure breed or a mixture they can still be at risk of these breed specific conditions, however proactive holistic decisions can help kitties to live long and happy lives.
But wait there’s a supplement for that
Hairb-EZ is an all-natural herbal supplement that helps unblock loose hair and keep it from forming into balls that become lodged in your cat’s stomach. With a blend of 7 natural herbs, this supplement will help with digestion, constipation and strengthening the gastrointestinal tract of Maine Coons.
Hearty Heart is a vet formulated natural herbal pet supplement that supports feline heart conditions, cardiovascular disorders, cardiomyopathy, and overall heart health in cats. Boosting blood supply to the heart, the gentle herbs in Hearty Heart supports blood pressure, muscle function and aids with symptoms like breathing difficulties and coughing.
For cases of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, our vet suggests the addition of Resp Aid to support healthy breathing and relieve shortness of breath, and Turmeric for supporting the heart and circulatory system.
Turmeric is also a great supplement to support Maine Coons with Hip Dysplaysia, using its high anti inflammatory properties it reduces painful inflammation that arthritis can cause. When paired with Old Timer, these two pack a powerful punch when easing painful joints and supporting the immune and circulatory system.
Maisie the Maine Coon takes her Hairb-EZ twice a day to help control her furballs. All that fluff has got to somewhere!
Maine Coons can be very sincere and fun-loving companions for families. At NHV we have been lucky enough to be able to help many of them cope with their health issues naturally. If you are owned by a Maine coon and would like to know how best you can help them, then reach out to your NHV Pet Experts right away.
Published: August 30, 2019